HONOLULU (KHON2) — A Marine Corps Base Hawaii Corporal received the highest non-combat award for heroism for saving the life of a woman who was swept off of a cliff and into the ocean.

Cpl. Robert Farmer said he was enjoying his day at China Walls Coastal Cliffs last Labor Day when he saw a giant wave knock a woman off and into the ocean. 

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“I saw the wave sweep her off. I thought she was stuck on the rocks at the base of the cliff. She wasn’t there. When I spotted her stuck on the coral, I thought to myself, alright, I need to get there,” Farmer said. “There was a large swell, the conditions were rough, but I had to help, so I jumped.”

He instantly dove off the cliff and into the aggressively dangerous ocean swell to swim towards her and save the woman. He eventually made it to her and with the help from a nearby surfer they were able to save the woman and get her to safety. 

“We put her down on the sand and made sure that she did not have any spinal injuries. We had her wiggle her fingers and her toes to make sure that she had feeling in all of her limbs and extremities.”

Farmer said he is an experienced white-water kayaker and knows first-hand how scary it can be to be trapped in the water. 

“I’ve been there before; I know how scary it is. I’ve been there when others have helped me, I’ve been there when I had to help myself. Having someone by your side makes the situation 100 times more bearable, it gives you a little bit of hope and assurance.”

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, Farmer received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroic actions when he saved that woman’s life. 

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“I am extremely humble in receiving this prestigious award, and I would like to recognize Lance Cpl. Prevette for her actions that day as well. She performed well under pressure and helped provide necessary first aid,” said Farmer. “I believe as Marines we are trained to help people in need, no matter the time, place, or circumstance. I am thankful I was able to have a positive impact in this situation.”